Last week and on this week's podcast, we reported about how Royal Caribbean and Carnival were forced to stand passengers at San Juan. Both cruise lines handled the situation very differently with Carnival receiving praise from industry insiders for issuing future cruise credits or flying passengers to the next port. Royal Caribbean, however, received a backlash for only taking care of 15 passengers who had also booked air travel through them. Everyone from cruisemates.com to Cruise Radio to, well us, had something to say about it. Yesterday evening, word was quietly released that Royal Caribbean had, indeed, changed their minds and decided to reimburse the stranded passengers. Of course, this is a good thing, but it reminds me of my teen years.
When I was a teen, I tended to be of the persuasion to ask forgiveness, rather than permission, if you know what I mean. My mom, however, was of the persuasion to hold over my head the idea that I would possibly lose something that I wanted in the future. (trip to Disneyworld, permission to go out on the weekends etc.) So, it became this cycle. I would misbehave, assess the situation, and then try to make it up to my Mom enough to get what I wanted and/or to keep good graces between us. Of course, it didn't change the fact that I had done something wrong, and this backpedaling to do the right thing doesn't change the fact that Royal Caribbean could have acted better to begin with. At least I cared what my parents thought as a teenager and did not rebel completely. In the same vein, at least Royal Caribbean cares what we think and corrected a mistake when it was made. For the details, go to www.royalcaribbeanblog.com and for another great commentary on the whole situation, check out Chris Cruises.
In a similar story, earlier this week, Disney Cruise Line released a story that they had changed their policies regarding bringing alcohol on board. In the past, they have been the most liberal of the cruise lines in this category, allowing passengers to basically bring whatever they can carry on board, whether it be hard liquor, cases of beer or multiple bottles of wine. The new policy stated that passengers would now only be allowed to bring one bottle of wine and one six pack of beer, with all other alcohol confiscated and destroyed. And, oh the woes it caused in the online Disney community, with people claiming that they could no longer afford shore excursions due to the new alcohol policy or stating that now they couldn't afford to cruise with Disney. (Really? NOW you can't afford Disney? $800 for a three night cruise is okay, but heaven forbid they make you buy their hard liquor!) In a weird and interesting move, Disney announced (again, quietly) yesterday that the old policy would remain in place.
In this instance, I am really perplexed. Disney is normally so driven by the dollar that I really wonder if they are allowing themselves to be bullied by a couple of idiots on a message board. Did people call and cancel their upcoming cruises due to the policy change? Did Bob Iger get upset that he couldn't bring his own brand of moonshine on the Dream with him? Disney doesn't often react to public opinion, and certainly not this quickly, so you have to wonder. But, for whatever reason, Disney still has the most liberal alcohol policies of any cruise line. So, I guess booze it up and heave your cases on board with you if that is what makes you feel good about paying too much for a cruise. Read both the original story and the retraction on http://disneycruiseblog.net/
Thanks for reading, and have a great long weekend! (Those of you who still get them)